Dubai International Film Festival turns 10

On Sunday, 24th November 2013, I went to the Dubai International Film Festival press conference for the reveal of the film line up. 

Dubai International Film Festival turns 10 this year, so this year's edition which is on from 6th-14th December, is quite a milestone, and personally, I'm so happy that the age of cultural event in the UAE of this importance has now gone into two digits. 

DIFF's CEO Abdulhamid Juma looked back at the festival's goal and aims: 

  • Bridging culture
  • Focusing on Arab cinema 
  • Supporting the local film industry to develop and grow 
  • Celebrating Dubai, promoting it as a destination and centre for tourism, trade and culture 

The theme for the 10th edition of DIFF is "A Tribute to Arab Cinema" and will include 70 world premieres, 174 films from 57 countries in 43 languages, with more than 100 Arab films. 

There will be a few firsts this year: 

  • An Arab film will open the film festival, Omar by Hany Abu-Assad. Hany Abu Assad, is the only director to open DIFF on two occasions (his film Paradise Now was the opening film in 2005). 
  • There will be two red carpet gala screenings, compared to one in the previous editions.
  • Free open air screenings at the Burj Khalifa park called Screen on the Green
  • Cinematic Innovation Summit featuring leading names from Hollywood and Silicon Valley. 
  • Celebration of the top 100 Arab Films (based on a recent poll which I was proud to be part of).   
  • Workshops run by the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences
  • Lifetime Achievement Award that will for the first time go to a film critic, Samir Farid
  • The festival is longer this year, will run over nine days instead of the usual seven and will span over two weekends, which I think is a very good move.

I am really looking forward to this year's edition. I've attended each year, and this festival is very close to my heart, so I am happy to be celebrating it's 10th year and cannot wait for my movie marathon sessions between 6-14th December.

I will be sharing my top picks with you soon. Since this is the 10th edition, I will do someting different this year and share multiple lists of recommended films based on themes. So watch this space. 

For now, I leave you with this trailer collage of the films that will be screened at the festival.